Purcell : Dido and Aeneas
The Poème Harmonique Orchestra returns to the stage, conducted by Vincent Dumestre. The ensemble is turning to English 17th century music, with one of the greatest opera masterpieces: Dido and Aenas.
This work, at the time a hybrid combination of theatre and masque – a performance composed of singing, dancing, instrumental music and stage machinery with spectacular effects – enabled the English composer to develop his theatre ideal. The single opera Purcell signed during his short career – he died at 36, leaving a rich and varied production – is a precious and concise jewel.
His score with its bold and personal language will be analysed in depth by the Poème Harmonique musicians to highlight all its colours. The genius of the work also comes from the quality of its libretto, skilfully constructed by Nahum Tate. Elliptically and implacably written, it tells the story of the love and separation of two lovers: Aeneas has fled Troy, stopped in Carthage and fallen in love with Queen Dido. Their love gives hope to the people. But witches and Spirit put an end to the idyll, compelling Aeneas to go back to his wanderings. The hero obeys them and abandons his beloved who dies of grief.
The directors, Cécile Roussat and Julien Lubek, come from the world of circus and have already collaborated with the Poème Harmonique for the Baroque Carnival. They will mix mime, dance and acrobatics to music in a moving and enchanting scenography.
Extract from Dido and Aeneas by Vincent Dumestre and the Poème Harmonique
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Dido and Aeneas
Opera in three acts.
Libretto by Nahum Tate.
Created in London in 1689.
Production: Rouen Normandie Opera in cooperation with Poème Harmonique